Effects of climate change on Arctic Mammals on Thin Ice
Climate change is proven to be affecting the oceans currently and it is anticipated that the changes in the marine ecosystem would result in the changes in the prey distribution. The expert provided by the intergovernmental Panel organization on climate change have stipulated that the changes in the temperature associated with adjustments in circulation of the oceans and the sea level have the potential of adversely affecting the marine ecosystem structure and its functioning and global biogeochemical cycles and the climate systems. The depletion of sea ice owing to the changes in climate indicates disaster for the polar bears and other arctic marine mammals. The sea ice is the habitat for these unique and diverse inhabitations, as it serves as the platform for reproduction, resting and also it is a reserve for food sources and also a refugee from predators. The change on the sea ice has a potential threat to hooded seal, an arctic species whose history is dependent on the sea ice.
These species has for generations been able to acclimatize to the severe and variable environments having survived the previous periods of extended global temperate and cooling. Nevertheless, the rate and the scale of the current changes in the climate are able to distinguish the current circumstances from the past circumstances. The current circumstances present exclusive threat to the wellbeing of the Arctic marine mammals, from the information from the Alaska Fisheries and science centre. The April issue of the ecological application provided information on the potential harmful effects on the historical context which gives the possible conservation measures, which could mitigate the effects of the climate change. This assessment reflects the latest effects of climate change on the marine ecosystems.
For instance, for these polar bears, climate change decreases the accessibility of their prey necessitating them to seek other food sources while some of the arctic marine animals are capable of adjusting to the changing accessibility to food. Other marine mammals maybe handicapped by their specificity in their hunting skills. For example, classes of animals such as the walrus and the polar bears have specific hunting skills which due to the changing climate could lead to the extinction of these species. However, some of the species such as beluga whale and the bearded seal are more opportunistic in their differences in eating habits which are making them potentially less vulnerable. Through the use of quantitative index for the species, the scientists have established that the most susceptible marine species to be hit by the changes in the climate are the hooded seal, the narwhal and the polar bear, due to their overreliance in sea ice for specialized feeding. The shift from the prey of these animals has the possibility of shifting the body conditions of these animals.
Furthermore, the climate change has the potential of alteration of the pathogen contact and transmission to the infectious diseases lowering the health of the animals and their chances of survival. The changing environmental conditions and the increase in the frequencies of bouts of severe weather, rising air and the temperature have also the potential of impacting the health of the marine mammals. The secondary factors also have influence on the life of the arctic mammals. The loss of the ice will open the shipping of oil and the gases exploration tourism and also coastal developments. These developments might have paramount threats to the mammal populations due to the contamination and the competition for prey.
However, the secondary threats could be addressed by the conservation measures which have the possibility of dealing with the secondary effects of climate change. For the long term solution it is important to reduce the emission of the green house gases.